Daughter Can't Sleep...

Updated on May 16, 2011
C.H. asks from Columbus, OH
8 answers

My 4 year old daughter LOVES to sleep! HOWEVER... she will NOT / can not fall asleep when I put her to bed at night. I am a single mom and work full time, so I have to get her up and ready in the morning and get to work on time. She is a challenge in the morning - not wanting to walk, whining, refusing to dress herself (even though she is very capable). My solution to making mornings easier would be to get her in bed earlier, since she seems to need A LOT of sleep. The problem is that she does not feel tired when I get her ready and in bed (bedtime is 8:15 and I get her up at 6:40am). She goes to preschool and they take naps, but she rarely naps there. We will do the nightly routine of eating a nice dinner together, taking a warm bath, putting her PJs on, brushing her teeth, and reading a story - and it still doesn't seem to help. I have tried laying down with her multiple times, but I usually fall asleep and an hour or more later, she's still squirming around, singing to herself. I have on occasion, given her 1/2mg of Melatonin, which seems to help, but I hate to rely on a pill to get her to rest. Any suggestions??

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answers from Boise on

I would not do melatonin because it interupts sex hormones.

Magnesium, lugols iodine,will help with sleepiness.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm wondering if she's not napping at preschool if she's not over tired. And an exhausted kid just never goes to sleep as easily as a rested kid--weird but so true!

I know you work FT but is there anyway you can try to get her down even earlier than 8:15? She's up awfully early. Just a thought.



answers from Cleveland on

We have the same thing with our 3 year old. I actually make sure to get her up in the am, we let her watch a show while I finish getting dressed, then we go through her routine. She's more cooperative that way.


answers from Appleton on

Do you watch Supernanny? The only thing that helped me was her bedtime routine. If you look up www.supernanny.com I believe the steps to follow her routine are listed.

Good Luck



answers from Boston on

If she is falling asleep so late and getting up early she cannot be getting enough rest. I would not feel bad about the Melatonin. My daughter takes Clonidine which is a prescription sleep aid since she would lay in bed for literally 3 hours before falling asleep and I would not be able to get her up in the morning. She started taking it at age 10. We tried Melatonin but it gave her nightmares, which it seems to do to some people. We also tried chamomile tea, classical music, nature sounds, a hepa filter in her room for white noise, but nothing worked. Occasionally I would give her a Benadryl. But a lot of things are habit forming so we decided to talk to the pediatrician. My daughter has inattentive ADD and her thoughts keep spinning at night. If the Melatonin works I would stick with it for a week or 2 to get her on the schedule you need her to follow and then perhaps halve the dose and quarter the dose until you get to the smallest dose that still lets her sleep. My daughter could fall asleep with about 0.1 mg of Melatonin which meant I had to cut the tablet many times. I would also discuss her sleep habits with her pediatrician. There are sometimes allergies that could be keeping her from sleeping - I am allergic to MSG which makes me very hyper - and that is in a lot of foods so I have to select canned and prepared foods very carefully. I hope you get some sleep soon.


answers from Norfolk on

When does she get exercise? Some vigorous playtime in the afternoon might do the trick. Fresh air, running around at a play ground will help burn off some energy. If it's rainy, a rain coat and rain boots are great for splashing in puddles. Or there's always The Little Gym or some tumbling class in the afternoon. As long as it's not too late in the day or close to bed time, some exercise really helps with falling asleep at bedtime.


answers from Biloxi on

I love Melatonin - it is natural and non-addictive and non-narcotic.
Often use it for my son, now 14, throughout the years. Usually, after two, three days, he got back on track and was able to sleep without it.

Do you co-sleep? If so, it may be time to stop - she may sleep better in her "own space". At least, her squirming around and singing will not wake you up. LOL

And I would do the reverse - I would wake her up a little earlier and give her more time to wake up, actually. My son is a rotten morning person, so I wake him up 30 minutes before he has to get up. This gives him time to loll around in bed and slowly wake up before he actually needs to get up. It works for us - I have been doing this for/to him since he was in pre-school.

Good Luck.


answers from Dallas on

I would make sure they aren't giving her naps at preschool. That really messes with night sleeping. I know she isn't taking them often, but I would ask them to make sure she isn't getting one at all. If my 2 yr old takes a nap, she takes forever to go to sleep at night.

Do you do a bedtime routine? Those can be super helpful. We do a bath, book time, and then snuggle in bed time. With our little ones, we do sit in a rocking chair in their room until they go to sleep (they are in their beds). It seems to help get them to sleep faster.

Also, what is she eating before bed? The only thing I would suggest is making sure she isn't getting any sugar or juice before bed. Some kids are just super hard to get to sleep, though. I looked it up, and it can be normal for a 4 year old to only need 10 hours of sleep. You might want to adjust her bedtime to a little later to give her a 10 hour total night sleep (plan putting her down 30 minutes before you want her asleep) and see if that helps.

Sleep is amazingly maddening when it doesn't happen. I have no idea if anything I said helped, but I hope you figure something out!

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